Fake cop showed gold star badge, pointed gun at drivers, deputies said

John Awad charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer

By Vanessa Araiza - Reporter, Kristin Cason - Assignment editor

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando man is accused of pointing a gun and flashing a fake badge at a couple while driving down South Orange Avenue is charged with impersonating a police officer.

Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office met two victims at a 7-Eleven on Tuesday near Hoffner and Hansel avenues after they called 911 to report a man driving a black Ford car who pointed a gun at them.

The victims, a married couple, told deputies that they were driving near Orange Avenue and Sand Lake Road when they first saw the black Ford Crown Victoria they thought looked like a decommissioned police cruiser.

The victims described the suspect, later identified at John Awad, 27, as a man who wore a black hat with "Police" printed on it and aviator-style sunglasses. Near Orange Avenue and Sand Lake Road, the black vehicle pulled in front of the victims' car and almost caused a crash, according to the report.

The victims said Awad pulled up next to them, rolled his window down and began flashing his spotlight at them. He also pointed a gun at the couple, according to the report. The couple told deputies Awad displayed a gold star badge before pulling off at Orange and Pierce avenues.

In fear that they were about to be shot, one of the victims called 911 and was instructed to pull into a nearby parking lot to wait for Orange County deputies to arrive.

The victim in the passenger seat took a picture of Awad's license plate before he pulled away, according to the report.

Deputies said they were able to match the license plate number to a vehicle registered to Awad. Deputies showed the victims a picture of the suspect, and one of the victims was able to identify Awad as the driver of the black Ford.

Deputies said they found the Crown Victoria parked in front of Awad's residence on Vineland Road. Awad's uncle, who was at the home, told deputies that his nephew has "long wished to be a law enforcement officer, but due to his criminal history, he has been unsuccessful in his attempts," according to the report.

Deputies arrested Awad on two charges of falsely impersonating an officer and two charges aggravated assault with a firearm. He is held on a $7,950 bail in the Orange County Jail.

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